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In Alaska, a (person) developer must obtain a water right from the [[Alaska Division of Mining Land and Water]] (DMLW) if the project will divert, impound or use a significant quantity of surface or groundwater. Alaska follows the Prior Appropriation Doctrine when distributing water rights. To obtain a water right, the developer must apply for a permit to appropriate water and put the permitted water to a beneficial use. Once the developer establishes the full amount of water will be put to a beneficial use, and compliance with all permit conditions, the [[Alaska Division of Mining Land and Water|DMLW]] will issue a certificate of appropriation. The certificate of appropriation is the legal document establishing the developer’s water right.
A water right is a legal right to use surface or groundwater under the [[Title 46 Alaska Statutes Chapter 15 Water Use Act|Alaska Water Use Act (AS 46.15)]]. A water right allows the holder to divert, impound or withdraw a specific amount of water, from a specific water source, for a specific use.
The ownership of land does not give landowners automatic rights to groundwater or surface water. Water is declared a public resource belonging to the people of the Alaska, to be managed by the state for maximum benefit to the public. All surface and subsurface waters on all lands in Alaska are reserved to the people for common use and are subject to appropriation in accordance with the [[Title 46 Alaska Statutes Chapter 15 Water Use Act|Alaska Water Use Act]]. For more information on the water rights and water access process in Alaska, see the [[Alaska Division of Mining Land and Water|Division of Mining Land and Water (DMLW)]] [[ADNR Water Forms | Water Fact Sheets: Water Rights in Alaska]].
According to [[Title 41 Alaska Statutes Section 06.060 Geothermal Resources Definitions|Alaska Stat. § 41.06.060]], "geothermal fluid" means liquids and steam at temperatures greater than 120 degrees Celsius or any commercial use of liquids and steam naturally present in a geothermal system at temperatures less than 120 degrees Celsius. Water at temperatures below 120 degrees Celsius must be acquired through appropriation.
A developer must obtain a water right from the DMLW for a hydropower project. In Alaska, a water right is required even for non-consumptive uses of water. [[Title 11 Alaska Administrative Code Chapter 93 Water Management|11 AAC 93.035(b)]]. “Non-consumptive water use” means the instream use of water, or the diversion of water where the quantity of water diverted is not diminished except by evaporation or transpiration and the water is returned to its original source at the original point of diversion immediately after its use. [[Title 11 Alaska Administrative Code Chapter 93 Water Management|Alaska Admin. Code tit. 11 §93.970]].
Overview of the permit or section being discussed.
==19-AK-a.1 to 19-AK-a.2 - Will the Project Require the Use of a Significant Amount of Water?==
Any person using a "significant amount of water" must apply for a permit to appropriate such water (whether temporary or permanent) from the [[Alaska Division of Mining Land and Water]] (DMLW). [[Title 11 Alaska Administrative Code Chapter 93 Water Management|Alaska Admin. Code tit. 11 § 93.035(b)]].
[[Title 11 Alaska Administrative Code Chapter 93 Water Management|Alaska Admin. Code tit. 11 § 93.035]] defines a “significant amount of water” as follows:
* The consumptive use of more than 5,000 gallons of water from a single source in a single day;
* The regular daily or recurring consumptive use of more than 500 gallons per day (gpd) from a single source for more than 10 days per calendar year;
* The non-consumptive use of more than 30,000 gpd (0.05 cubic feet per second) from a single source; or
* Any water use that may adversely affect the water rights of other appropriators or the public interest.
A use of less than a significant amount of water without a permit will not create any form of a water right or priority for the use of such water unless the user files an application and receives a permit or certificate from the DMLW.
==19-AK-a.3 to 19-AK-a.5 - Will the Project Require the Water for Less than Five Years?==
A developer needs to obtain a temporary use of water permit from the DMLW if the project will use a significant amount of water for less than five consecutive years and the water applied for is not otherwise appropriated [[Title 11 Alaska Administrative Code Chapter 93 Water Management|Alaska Admin. Code tit. 11 § 93.210]].
<span class="btn btn-rapid btn-state">[[RAPID/Roadmap/19-AK-b|Temporary Use of Water Permit: <br>19-AK-b]]</span>
A developer needs to obtain a permit to appropriate water from the DMLW if the project will use a significant amount of water for five or more years and the water applied for is not otherwise appropriated.
<span class="btn btn-rapid btn-state">[[RAPID/Roadmap/19-AK-c|Permit to Appropriate: <br>19-AK-c]]</span>
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[[ADNR Water Forms | Water Fact Sheets: Water Rights in Alaska]];
[[ADNR Water Forms | Application for Water Right]];
[[ADNR Water Forms | Application for Temporary Use of Water]];
[[ADNR Water Forms | Request for Water Right Permit Extension]];
[[ADNR Water Forms | Statement of Beneficial Water Use]];
[[ADNR Water Forms | Water Maps and Data]]
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[[Title 46 Alaska Statutes Chapter 15 Water Use Act|Alaska— Alaska Stat. § 46.15, Alaska Water Use Act]];
[[Title 41 Alaska Statutes Section 06.060 Geothermal Resources Definitions|Alaska— Alaska Stat. § 41.06.060, Geothermal Resources Definitions]];
[[Title 11 Alaska Administrative Code Chapter 93 Water Management|Alaska— Alaska Admin. Code tit. 11 §§ 93.141 et seq., Water Management]]
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